Pop the corks and celebrate World Sauvignon Blanc Day on 5 May with these stunning wines

What an excellent excuse for sipping South Africa’s favourite grape! Yes, despite all the furore over varieties such as Chenin and Cinsault, the grape which remains top of every wine list is Sauvignon Blanc and as the weather stays warm and – sadly – dry, it’s the perfect Autumn sundowner this weekend.

A lot of people think that Sauvignon should be drunk teeth-searingly young, but it’s no coincidence that all the ones below are from 2016. Good quality Sauvignon needs a bit of time to settle and let the acidity calm down so try these for an explosion of freshness without the accompanying heartburn this weekend. Most prices cellar door.

Alexanderfontein Sauvignon Blanc 2016  (R54)
It can be hard to get good value in Sauvignon – not that it’s hard to find cheap versions, but so many of them are dilute and tasteless. If you’re on a budget, then this is hard to beat. From cool-climate Darling and the surrounding areas, it gives you everything you could want from a Sauvignon Blanc – oodles of crisp green fruit, plenty of citrus lift and a clean fresh finish. A happy wine for uncomplicated sipping, enjoy it with friends and family this weekend.

Springfield Special Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (R89)
Most people are huge fans of Springfield’s better-known Sauvvie, the Life from Stone but I’ve always preferred this one, finding it more subtle and longer-lasting. ‘Cuvée’ means batch or blend and this wine comes from vineyards which always give a lovely smoky minerality to balance out the ripe figs, pink grapefruits and crunchy green peppers. Keep it a while longer – it’s getting better all the time.

Neil Ellis Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (R95)
If ever a wine proved that quality doesn’t have to mean limited quantity, it’s this wine. The last vintage was a stonking Platter 5 Star wine and this is running it very close indeed. From the cool region of Groenekloof, ranged on a series of hills close to the sea, the grapes take a long time to ripen, ensuring that the flavours and sugars are both picked at perfect levels. Available from supermarkets, buying this is as smart-shopping as it gets.

Shannon Vineyards Sanctuary Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (R125)
If you think Sauvignon can be a bit one-dimensional, try this wine and think again. It’s got 10% Semillon in it which was naturally-fermented and then aged in oak before being blended back into the Sauvignon. The result is a wonderfully-rich wine with lots of depth and flavour, a wine to enjoy with food (toasted goats’ cheese – yum!) or on its own and a wine to keep for a few more years as well. If you can……

Villiera Bush Vine Blanc Fumé 2016 (R144)
A Blanc Fumé literally means ‘smoky white’ but when used in SA, it means a wooded Sauvignon which is what’s happened here. Villiera aren’t the first farm who spring to mind when you think of Sauvignon Blanc but I went to an amazing 20 year vertical a couple of years ago and they definitely know what they’re doing with this variety! This is a lovely wine with very subtle oak adding cream, texture and length to bright green fruit.

Follow Cathy Marston on Twitter for more wine-soaked fun!

Love white wine? Then you should also read:

The 6 best wooded Chardonnays

Learn to taste exciting white wines

How to organise a wine tasting with white wines